Amid the Covid-19 crisis, around 5,000 nurses in Delhi's AIIMS nurses staged an indefinite strike demanding a better salary and an end to contract hiring of new nurses.
The nurses union of AIIMS has put forward 23 demands to end contract hiring, better pay scale and implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission's recommendations. The strike was originally announced to begin on Dec. 16, 2020 but has been advanced to Monday, Dec. 14.
The nurses union of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi claimed that the hospital administration has introduced contract terms to their employment which forced them to pre-empt the strike.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said, "They have 23 demands. Almost all the demands have been met by the AIIMS administration and government. I appeal all nurses and nursing officers not to go on strike at this time of the epidemic."
Health Ministry Appeals
Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has stepped in and asked the nurses to call off the strike or strict action will be initiated against them under the Disaster Management Act.
"The Ministry is open to placing the fresh demand before appropriate authorities for sympathetic consideration and therefore the AllMS Nurses Union may be requested to reconsider and withdraw the call for any strike, especially during these trying times, due to the national priority of effectively tackling Covid-19 pandemic," the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The nurses union said that the assurance given by the Union Health Minister in October 2019 that their salary would be restructured as per the Sixth Pay Commission is not implemented so far and the new contract terms are not acceptable.
The strike is likely to hit the Covid-19 services at AIIMS, Delhi.